Man accused of bypassing P.E.I. pandemic checkpoint returned to N.B.

·2 min read
People arriving on P.E.I. are required to stop at a checkpoint by a public health order. (Rick Gibbs/CBC - image credit)
People arriving on P.E.I. are required to stop at a checkpoint by a public health order. (Rick Gibbs/CBC - image credit)

After spending three days in jail, a 52-year-old man was sent back to New Brunswick Tuesday after allegedly driving around the pandemic checkpoint at Confederation Bridge.

The man had been held in custody in P.E.I. since Saturday. He still faces a charge of obstructing a police officer.

RCMP say the man's pickup truck bypassed the COVID-19 testing checkpoint at Confederation Bridge twice. In a news release, police say on June 24 the man's pickup truck did not heed instructions from staff at the checkpoint and drove through into Borden-Carleton. A short time later it was seen crossing back into New Brunswick.

Then, on June 26, the truck returned and drove around the barriers. It was later seen in Charlottetown. The man and a 59-year-old woman, also from New Brunswick, were arrested by Charlottetown police. The woman was escorted back to New Brunswick, but the man was held on the obstruction charge.

Under a public health order, motorists are required by law to stop at the checkpoint upon arriving on P.E.I. Non-residents require a P.E.I. Pass to enter the province, and must be tested at the checkpoint for COVID-19.

Sgt. Chris Gunn, who speaks for the RCMP on P.E.I., said police have been asked several times during the pandemic to escort people off-Island by air or by land.

"There has been several occurrences over the past year — very infrequent but it does happen," said Gunn.

He said RCMP are increasing patrols in the Borden-Carleton area because of the increase in traffic due to the easing of visitor restrictions.

Gunn said part of the evidence against the pair was a video they posted on social media showing them driving around a barricade. He said police also had security camera video from the Confederation Bridge and investigators spoke with staff who interacted with the pair as they entered P.E.I.

The man made a court appearance in Charlottetown Tuesday, and was released from jail and escorted back to Confederation Bridge, where he was ordered to return to New Brunswick. He was fined a total of $2,400 and the woman was fined $1,000.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on July 15.

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